Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Night, night!

So my last post was a bit of a downer and for good baby was crying and it was making me miserable. Well, that lasted all of 3 nights (don't get me wrong, they were 3 miserable nights).

Last week Nicolette magically started going to bed with no tears.  Now, I lay my sweet baby down and she doesn't start crying as I approach the crib or wiggle and roll onto all fours as soon as I set her down or pop up to standing and reach out and cry.  Instead, my sweet girl stays on her back and looks at me as I snuggle her little blankie around her.  As I tuck her in she smiles at me and I get to stroke her sweet face say good night and tell her how much I love her and how I'll be right here when she wakes up.

For those of you who have never struggled through bedtimes with little ones you will never fully understand the sweet relief that this brings to me. I feel like a new person and my night time anxiety is so much better.  I do not believe that Crying it Out was what solved our problems.  I 100% believe that Nicolette's bedtime anxiety and former night wakings were due to her developmental milestones. Once Nicolette became a pro at crawling and standing that the night wakings nearly stopped but we still struggled with going to bed. Now that Nicolette has pretty much mastered walking, the fight to go night-night has seemingly ended. I believe that her little brain has just been working overtime at night trying to figure this mobility thing out and now that she's moved from walking to running (yes, she started trying to run this week, not well but she's trying) she figures that there probably isn't too much more to worry about so this sleeping thing might not be so bad.

Regardless of what the cause was I'm so happy to be where we are now.  I don't dread bedtime anymore and don't have the horrible anxiety before, during and after bedtime that I used to have.  We're all sleeping better and are still blessed beyond belief!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm a little sad...

Those who know me know that I was emphatic about not letting Nicolette CIO (Cry it Out) to fall asleep. For the first 6 months of her life we enjoyed a beautiful co-sleeping relationship and she never once cried as she fell asleep in my arms. I will never regret that time and am convinced that it helped to maintain our breastfeeding relationship.

When Nicolette was around 6 1/2 to 7 months old it became obvious that it was time to move to the crib. She was starting to wiggle and toss and turn more and more during the night and was waking up (I think) because she was uncomfortable and unable to move freely while snuggled in my arms. For 2 1/2 months we STRUGGLED to transition to the crib through chronic and incessant night wakings. Finally at around 9 months old, Nicolette seemed to have gotten the hang of sleeping in her crib. I was able to rock her until drowsy and put her in the crib. She'd fuss a little but I could rub her back or even lay down on the floor next to her and hold her hand and she'd settle down and fall asleep with little drama.

Around 11 months old she suddenly stopped letting me put her down. We'd nurse and rock and she'd get drowsy but start squirming, fussing and eventually crying. If I continued to hold her and rock her she'd work up into a full blown cry. I' put her in the crib and immediate crying, popping up to all fours or standing. I try patting her back, rubbing her, laying her back down, laying down on the floor next to the matter what I do, the crying just escalates and escalates. Pick her back up and rock her, more wiggling, squirming and crying.

Against everything that my gut tells me, I lay her in her crib, kiss her and tell her that I love her and that it's time to go night-night and I walk out of the room. She stands up, reaches for me out of the crib and cries. She usually continues to cry from anywhere to 1-10 minutes while she crawls around and changes positions a few times and is then fast asleep. I HATE IT!!!! I hate thinking that she is sad when she goes to sleep.

Those who know Nicolette know that she almost NEVER cries. Honestly, I'm not exaggerating. She's just a very easygoing, good natured baby. She doesn't fuss or whine when she's hungry, hardly ever cries when she bumps or bangs herself...nothing. And we don't have this same issue with naps. She'll even play in her crib before or after naps most of the time. So to have to hear her cry at bedtime EVERY night is pure torture for me. I'm out of ideas and don't know what else to do but let her cry. If I stay in the room she continues to stand up and reach for me and gets more and more worked up until she can't fall asleep. If I hold her she wiggles and squirms and cries and continues to get worked up. I honestly don't know what is "the right thing" to do.

So point being...never say never.  I'm now a CIO mom and I hate it.

If you have any other tips to share please let me know. I'm out of ideas and am sad about this every night.


For an update see my subsequent blog post here. Nicolette started sleeping well and going to sleep on her own with NO problem as soon as she mastered the art of walking. I honestly believe that she suffered from Developmental Milestone Night Waking. Her poor little brain and body were just consumed with the thought of becoming fully mobile to sleep.  Once she mastered that, she was able to sleep peacefully! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mirror, mirror

I love how much my daughter loves herself.  I know that might sound crazy but she honestly does.  Anytime she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror she cannot help but smile and giggle.  For her 1st birthday I had pictures of her hanging up EVERYWHERE and every time we'd walk past any of them she would lean forward, point, smile and giggle.  She loves what she sees and with good reason...she is beautifully and wonderfully made.

But I can't help and wonder when that will stop.

We all, especially girls and women, reach a point where we not only dislike what we see in the mirror or in photos, we actually detest it.  At what point will my BEAUTIFUL daughter cringe when she looks in the mirror or run to hide from a camera?  And why?  Why will she suddenly switch from smiling and laughing at the beautiful girl that she sees to judging, hiding from and covering up her gorgeous face.

I guess that the most impactful thing that I can do is to model good behavior for her.  I will resist all urges to wrinkle up my nose when I look at myself in the mirror, I won't hide from cameras or talk about how terrible I look in photos or complain about looking or feeling "fat". I will work on not shunning compliments - instead of deflecting when someone says something nice about me I will instead say, "thank you" (as difficult as that will be).  I will do this because I want my daughter to do the same someday.  

I know that I can't totally keep her from judging herself in the future but for now I'm going to encourage her self adoration as much as I can as I never want it to end.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pasta Night

Nicolette had her first taste of pasta the other night and boy did she love it! We had Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Pasta with Trader Joe's Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms.  (The TJ Brown Rice Pasta is a steal at $1.99 per lb, WAY less than you'd pay for the brown rice pasta at Whole Foods, Earth Fare or even Harris Teeter.  Wheat is a genetically modified crop so the wheat we eat today is NOTHING like the wheat of our ancestors so I try to limit as much of it as possible from our family's can read more here.  And the Organic Spaghetti Sauce is the only marinara sauce at Trader Joe's that I was able to find that does not include ANY soybean oil.  I think it's creepy how soy is incorporated into SO many different foods and despite popular beliefs soy is NOT a health food...anything but and almost ALL soy is genetically modified so I want to keep as much of it out of Nicolette's body as possible.  You can read more here).

Anyway, enough with the reading material...on with the cuteness!

Seiously...the foot up on the high chair tray cracks me up...every...single...meal.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

12 Month Birthversary - otherwise known as 1st Birthday

July 5th was Nicolette's 1st birthday and she decided to celebrate by sleeping in past 8:00am!  Mommy & Daddy were waiting downstairs patiently for the princess to wake up and as soon as she did we both ran upstairs so that we could wish her a happy birthday together!

Happy baby!
After nursing and breakfast mommy had to hurry and get her into position for her monthly pics so that I could print one out for her birthday party.  I didn't want to cheat and take the picture before her actual birthday so I was definitely doing this at the last minute!  Getting her to even look at the camera was a challenge, not to mention getting her to sit still, leave the sticker on her shirt, face forward and God forbid I hope for a smile!  She's got too much to do to waste time sitting around posing for pictures!

"Seriously mom... "
"OK - I'll give you HALF a grin"

Happy birthday sweet girl!

Nicolette's 1st Birthday Extravaganza!

Be prepared to be bombarded with hundreds (ok, maybe not HUNDREDS - but I DO have 189 photos from N's birthday celebration on my camera) of photos of Nicolette's birthday extravaganza!

As you very well may know, Nicolette turned one on July 5th.  Since that was a Friday and I wanted her party to be a family party with mommies, babies AND their daddies we decided to host her party on Saturday, July 6th. At first I told myself that I would not succumb to Pinterest Pressure but I just couldn't help myself.  My husband thought (and still thinks) that I am a total nut job for putting so much time and energy into this party but he knew what he was getting into when he married me.  I have ALWAYS been one to get excited about throwing a party - just ask my parents about the 12th birthday party I threw for myself...without their permission...or letting them know that I had sent out "custom" invitations for (custom meaning I handwrote them myself - each friend getting a different colored invite).

Determining a theme was the easy part...ever since I found out I was pregnant I've sung "You Are My Sunshine" to Nicolette.  I still sing it to her before almost every nap and at bedtime so I decided that would be the theme.  I found a cake design that I absolutely loved and basically designed the whole party around that.

I worked with Inspired Trading Co on etsy to design the invitations and I just loved the way they turned out. I worked with Hailey at and she was so helpful with adjusting the colors so that it fit the palette that I had in mind for the party.  Although the theme was "You Are My Sunshine" I didn't want to go totally cheesy, smiley, sunshiney faces all over the invite.  (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that)
Back - contact info is removed, that's why it's blurry
Now to me the 1st Birthday is ALL about the CAKE!  So choosing the cake and choosing the right cake baker was critical!  I'm blessed to know MANY talented pastry chefs but was delighted to be able to work with Lisa Toohey of Cake Expressions once again.  She also made my 30th birthday cake, but then had the nerve to pack up and move to London with her family for what seemed like a million years...good news Charlotte peeps, she is back and her cakes are just as gorgeous and delicious as ever!   (She also prepared the adorable cake pops and macarons).  

Check out the Cuteness!!!!!

Most adorable little smash cake
Lisa, you definitely outdid yourself and the cakes and desserts were more than I had imagined!!!!  

Now for other party details - 
High Chair Fabric Garland
I had to think of a way to dress up Nicolette's $19.99 ikea high chair so I decided to get crafty and make a fabric garland (see in photo above).  This was WAY easier than I ever could have imagined and I learned how to by following a tutorial on youtube. (one change...I didn't cut my fabric, just snipped it and then tore it.  I wanted it to have ragged edges so that it had more of a "shabby chic" look (emphasis on the shabby). It also was much quicker than cutting the fabric.  My highchair garland was made with 18" strips of fabric so it hung approximately 9" from the highchair as the fabric loops are doubled up). 
Fabric Garland

I ended up having purchased WAY too much fabric so I decided to make another fabric garland.  This one was long enough to put on the 8' beverage table. The total cost for both garlands was $12 in fabric and ribbons.  I spent one evening tearing and tying fabric whilst enjoying one of my guilty pleasures, "The Bachelorette".  
"I am 1!" Banner
I looked on etsy and saw some GORGEOUS banners but they were $30, $40 and $50 (and more), so I decided to go super simple and make my own.  I already had a scrapbooking circle stamp (I think it is a 3" circle) so I just bought some pretty pink cardstock and some scrapbooking letters from Michaels.  Used my hubby's hole punch and some ribbon that I had in my gift wrap closet and viola, banner = done. 
Proper Party Hat
Now every girl needs a proper party hat, right?  I checked etsy again (of course) and hats were crazy expensive, albeit super adorable but I figured I can put SOMETHING together, right?  And I didn't wan to spend $30+ on a hat that she would probably end up pulling off her head after 3 seconds.  So I found a template online and picked out some pretty damask paper and found a bunch of flowers on clearance from Michael's.  Pulled out my trusty hot glue gun, some ribbon I already had and some cute lace trim from my fabric scraps and presto change-o we had a birthday hat in under 15 minutes!  AND Nicolette actually kept the thing on her head the entire time she was eating her cake.  She didn't pull at it one time!  Such a good girl! I think my design on a dime hat was around $3 to make.  
sidenote: I did cut the paper about 1/4 to 1/2" LARGER than the template - the template just looked like a really small hat to me.  Cutting it just a tad larger made the perfect sized hat for Nicolette.  

Circle garlands
I wanted to accent the cake table but wanted to do something other than the tissue pom poms or accordion balls.  I had seen pictures of circle garlands and thought that they looked super cute.  I already had a 1 1/2" scalloped edge circle punch in my scrapbooking supplies so I just bought three different colors of paper (light pink, medium pink and pale yellow), spent a night on the couch punching away and then spent a couple of nap sessions with my sewing machine sewing the circles together.  Probably cost a total of $5 for the look and I was super happy with it!  

Tissue Pom Poms and Streamer Curtain
I went super light on the food - the party was at 3pm so it's a weird time for eating - also this party was all about the cake and the sweets, right so who needs a lot of foo?  Regardless I wanted the dining room to look lovely so I covered our windows with a streamer garland.  A couple of rolls of pale yellow and pale pink streamers (probably $10) and some painters tape and one nap session to hang it up and I was done with that project.  I purchased the Martha Stewart Tissue Paper Pom Poms from and used some of my extra circle garlands in here too.  So this room was completed for about $15-$20.  

Menu sign on leftover paper in a frame that hangs in N's nursery

Simple food
Fruit Salad
Trail Mix in Pink Paper Cups

I did splurge a little on something that is totally unnecessary...custom water bottle labels.  I found them on etsy (of course), but they were just too cute to resist! $15 for 15 labels and the water was from Trader Joe's.  I already had mason jars so accented them with some scrap ribbons and bought some snazzy paper straws from Sugar Divas.  We went simple with beverages too...just bottled water, lemonade, white wine and beer for the fellas.  

I took some of my favorite photos from each month and printed them as 8 X 10's, added her monthly onesie sticker, backed them with scrapbook paper and hung them with scrap ribbons from our staircase.  This was Nicolette's FAVORITE part of the party.  I hung them early in the week prior to her party and every time we'd walk past them she'd just stare and smile and laugh.  Which makes me think of something else...but that's a post for another day. 

 I backed her monthly pictures that I took with her elephant, Ellie and hung them in our family room.  I plan to put these in her baby book now.  (Need to work on updating the baby book...ACK!).

The loot table!  Another streamer curtain to block off the hubby's office (which looks like a bomb exploded in it). We were amazed at how generous our friends and families were.  We are truly blessed to have such amazing people in our lives who love our daughter almost as much as we do!

And a simple banner on the front door - same circle punch and the left over scrapbooking letters from the "I Am 1!" banner over the high chair.  

Now let's get to the GOOD stuff!  The reason that we're all here...this precious girl Nicolette!!!!

Happy girl was dancing to the music waiting for the party to start!

"Where's this cake everyone keeps talking about?"

What you didn't see: the reason that I have a death
grip on Nicolette's arm while simultaneously blowing
out the candle is because right at the very end of
"Happy Birthday" she reached her sweet little fingers
out to grab THE FLAME!

Happy Family!

with Gramma G 
She was happier eating with her fork
Dig in!
Eating Cake is Serious Business. 
Love these sweet little messy hands
Smash cake success!

Time to clean up!  Notice the hat is STILL on! 
Hope you all enjoyed the pics.  I had the best time putting the party together.  I know she won't remember it, but we'll have the pictures and memories forever!  So blessed!